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US employers add 157000 jobs jobless rate hits 39 pct

US employers add 157000 jobs jobless rate hits 39 pct

first_imgWASHINGTON — U.S. employers slowed their hiring in July, adding 157,000 jobs, a solid gain but below the healthy pace in the first half of this year.The unemployment rate ticked down to 3.9 percent from 4 percent, the Labor Department said Friday. That’s near an 18-year low of 3.8 percent reached in May.Employers added an average of 224,000 new workers in the first six months of this year, a faster pace than in 2017. The pickup has impressed many economists because it’s coming late in the economic expansion, which has entered its 10th year and is now the second-longest in U.S. history.The slip in hiring last month may be temporary. Consumers are spending freely and businesses are stepping up their investment in buildings and equipment, accelerating growth. That’s raising demand for workers in industries ranging from manufacturing to construction to health care.The economy expanded at a 4.1 percent annual rate in the April-June quarter, the strongest showing in nearly four years.Average hourly pay gains remained modest, increasing 2.7 percent from a year earlier, the same as the previous two months. That has puzzled Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell and many economists. Typically, when unemployment has fallen below 4 percent in the past, wages have increased at a faster pace.last_img read more